Top 10 Must-do Things While In Vibrant Madrid

Tags: #Madrid ,   #GranVia ,   #SantiagoBernabeu ,   #PlazaTorosLasVentas

Alex O'Brien

Alex O'Brien

Last updated:  2020-11-12 16:23:19

Let us introduce you to Madrid, one of the world's best cities, unique for its vibe and an inspiration for TV shows. This is the city that lives by night, the city that has a soul! It's siesta all the time in Madrid. There is no such rush that you can't sit and order a few tapas and Cerveza (beer). There's always time for "una cana" (small glass of beer)! Hope you will enjoy our top 10 must-do things while in Madrid!

10. Plaza Mayor – The Main Square

Plaza Mayor is 400 years old!

This is Madrid's main square, surrounded by three-story residential buildings, along with 237 balconies. Plaza Mayor was built in 1619, with the primary purpose of celebrating all main events. Still, during the inquisition, this was the place for execution.

Today this location is way more friendly and surrounded by numerous restaurants and cafes. At the square's center is the bronze statue of the king of Spain, Philip III. Plaza Mayor has nine entrances, with the most famous being Arco de Cuchilleros. During Christmas time, this is the place of the Christmas Market. 

9. Plaza de España – The Largest Square

Cervantes Monument is a testament to great Miguel de Cervantes

Plaza de España is one of the largest squares in Madrid. This place is recognizable for its olive trees and several fountains that provide refreshment during the hot days. The most impressive object here is the Cervantes Monument. Constructed in 1929, it represents the legacy of Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes.

He's overlooking two sculptures representing his characters Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, from his world-famous novel Don Quijote de la Mancha. After a full day of sightseeing, find a bench in the shade and relax a bit before you go for more exploring.

8. Gran Via – The Unofficial Main Shopping Street

Busy streets of Madrid on Gran Via

Gran Via is the place where you wanna go shopping. Gran Via is full of luxury stores, hotels, casinos, and bars. The street is well known for its vibrant nightlife. This is the home of bar-museum Museo Chicote, best-known for being Hemingway's hiding place during the Spanish war.

Just walking around here can be exciting! The location has many beautiful buildings, so make sure that you take a look at the roofs. There are quite a few impressive statues on the top of the buildings.

7. Royal Palace – A Bit of History

Spanish Royal family is rarely present in the Royal Palace

The representative residence of the Spanish Royal family is the Royal Palace. Today it's used only for state ceremonies, and the royal family does not reside in the palace. The baroque palace that rivals those in Vienna was built in 1764, and it has 3418 rooms and hosts paintings by artists such as Caravaggio, Francisco de Goya, Juan de Flandes, and Velázquez.

Among all the other treasures, we recommend visiting The Royal Armoury of Madrid or Real Armería de Madrid, consisting of one of the world's best collections. Also, take a walk in the gardens surrounding the place.

6. Santiago Bernabéu and Plaza Toros Las Ventas - One for the Action Fans

Bullring Plaza Toros Las Ventas keeps the old tradition alive

For soccer fans, a must-see is Real Madrid's stadium Santiago Bernabéu. It has 80.000 seats, and it's home for one of the world's most expensive soccer clubs. But there's more to see in Madrid. One of the most exciting locations is the bullring Plaza Toros Las Ventas.

This is the third largest bullring in the world. The best point in time to see it is during the San Isidro festival, hosted between May and June each year. San Isidro festival is the most famous bullfighting festival in the world. Even if you don't like bullfighting, it's an exciting place to visit.

5. El Retiro Park – Back to Nature

Gorgeous look at El Retiro park in autumn

Parque del Buen Retiro is the biggest and most beloved park in Madrid, and it's also on our list of Top 10 Best City Breaks All Around the World. If you wish to escape the urban city life and enjoy nature, this is the place to be. El Retiro has a lot to offer, including a beautiful rose garden called the Rosaleda.

The exhibitions, performances, fairs, etc. are hosted in the park. You can as well visit Cristal Palace and Velázquez Palace, both settled in the park. Alternatively, take a stroll along the artificial lake with the Alfonso XII monument. Surely you will find something interesting to do here. 

4. Museums Prado and Reina Sofia – A Bit of Culture

Museo de Prado in Madrid displays the art of the best many famous painters

These are some of the most excellent art museums in the world, easily rivaling those in New York. Among the exceptional collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures, here you can see masterpieces of El Greco, Ribera, Velázquez, Goya, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Michelangelo, Rubens, Dyck, Bosh, and others.

Our favorite is the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía with 20th-century art. Here you can admire the masterpieces made by Juan Miro, Salvador Dali, and Pablo Picasso. Famous Guernica by Pablo Picasso is exhibited here. Also, on some days, the entrance is free of charge, so just check when.

3. Puerta del Sol – The Heart and the Soul of the City

Estatua del Oso y el Madroño is a symbol of Madrid

This is the most vibrant of all the city's squares. Puerta del Sol is undoubtedly the heart and soul of this metropolis. Here you can find all sorts of performances. The first thing you'll notice is a bronze statue of the bear eating strawberries from the tree. This is the symbol of Madrid - Estatua del Oso y el Madroño.

It stands here from 1967, and it represents zero ground of Madrid. This is also the perfect position to start your adventures. There are all sorts of shops, bars, and restaurants all around the Puerta del Sol. At night, a lot of performances take place here, so you can just sit and enjoy the Puerta del Sol's vibe. 

2. While in Madrid, Don't Be Hungry or Thirsty

You can't go wrong with the tasty-looking churros

When in Madrid, you must try the famous paella, a dish made of rice with different ingredients, such as chicken, vegetables, sea fruits, etc. If you wish for a snack, just find the nearest Museo de Jamon and order a great sandwich made from ham and cheese. They are all over the town. If you prefer something sweet, make sure you try churros, a fried-dough pastry served with melted chocolate.

The best place for churros is definitely Chocolatería San Ginés, the oldest one in Madrid, established in 1894. If you're not hungry and just wanna relax, order a beer and tapas. Tapas are small bite-sized snacks or appetizers made from bread and different toppings, meat, cheese, vegetables, etc.

1. It's Time for the Clubbing

Every night is a party time in Madrid's clubs

As we've said, Madrid comes to life late in the evening. This is due to its active clubbing scene. In Madrid, you can find something for every taste. The most exciting clubs are in La Latina and Malasaña neighborhoods. You should check before your visit, as it could be that your favorite DJ is performing in some of the clubs.

Lively Chueca is located in central Madrid, and it has a lot of street cafes and boutique shops. This is the gay part of Madrid, but exciting no matter what is your sexual orientation is. Every year, the first week in July, Chueca hosts the LGBT carnival.

It's worth mentioning that Madrid is the sunniest capital in Europe and the best time for visiting are spring and summer. However, you won't make a big mistake if you come at any time of the year.

Do you have a favorite locale in Madrid? We'd like to hear about it, so please write about it in the comment section.

Photo: pixabay.com


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